Conversion Rate Optimization

Emotional Ecommerce – When Customers Don’t ‘Feel’ like Buying


What do you do when customers land on your website but do not buy? You have tried various things such as — slashing off the price, offer more discounts, improving search & checkout process, adding more inventory and what not in the name of conversion rate optimization but your conversion rate has refused to improve. Maybe you’re in a situation where your customers don’t ‘feel’ like buying from you. With this Medium post, we want to share some powerful ideas on how you can make your customers ‘feel’ like buying on your website.

Having worked in Fashion E-commerce for so many years and also as a conversion rate consulting company, we have seen many retailers scratching their head wondering why the hell people are not buying from them when apparently there are no usability related issues on their website. The truth is that you may offer the best products at the best price and in the most convenient way to shop but if your customers don’t ‘feel’ like buying from your website, they won’t buy. It usually means that they don’t feel emotionally connected to your brand.

This emotional failure of an online brand usually comes from its failure to think not logically (everyone one wants to be data-driven today) but emotionally, as they design the shopping experience of their website. Since there is no face to face interaction between them and their customer, it becomes rather easy for online retailers to consider customers landing on their store as ‘traffic’, wherein their objective is to help them complete the ‘transaction’ in the most convenient way.

Amazon is the pioneer of this convenience-oriented online shopping model. They offer the best assortment, price and convenience to a customer and the online shopping experience they offer is search oriented. When people go to, they search & filter results, read product descriptions/ reviews and buy the product. They go to Amazon with an intent to buy a product as quickly as they can. This one click shopping model has worked for Amazon because their business model is like that and now they have almost infinite resources to continue with this kind of approach.

But today if you design your website’s user experience like Amazon based on the same convenience shopping model, you will most likely fail because customers today who love shopping online usually don’t get lured only by convenience shopping. This is especially true when they are buying a non-commodity item such as luxury handbag. They want to be able to connect with the brand and know what’s behind the promise before they make a buying decision.

The Shift

the evolution of technology and social media (especially in the last 5 years), online shopping behavior of customers has changed dramatically. With social commerce, customers have more ways than ever before to discover products from their own network and outside. This new way of shopping has been lead by new age, revolutionary online fashion brands such as — Burberry (I like to call them 150-year-old-new-age), NastyGal, Warby Parker, etc who have adopted these changing buying pattern of the online shoppers. They have used technology & content in a more dynamic way to build a browse oriented online shopping experience.

They offer an immersive shopping experience with the help of powerful visuals, stories, music, art or whatever it takes to make their brand look larger than life. When we go to their website, they ignite a desire in us to be part of a lifestyle associated with their brand that’s larger than the product or the brand itself. These brands realize the importance of winning customer ‘mindshare’ as they have the power to convert a visitor who has ‘no’ buying intent to a long-term customer.

Yes, it’s still about closing the transaction but how the transaction is closed has become even more important for the long term success of your online brand.

How to design an emotional online shopping experience?

To create an emotional experience on your website, you have to give your customers an environment in which they can discover, collaborate and then transact. For this, you need to know the emotional ‘triggers’ relevant to your brand and include them in your marketing material and shopping experience.

Start out with emotional research. Study and run a thorough analysis of the demographics and psychographics of your brand. You have to know things, such as: the taste of your customers, their interests, their likes and dislikes, pain etc. And also identify what are the things that elicit an emotional response from your customers. Go ahead create mood pinboards of images that can create that emotional experience; it can be simple things such as — bright colors, rain, love, flowers, morning sunshine, water, art, kids, women, architecture, mountains, lakes etc. To collect all this data, you can use instruments such as: quiz, customer reviews, contests, customer return feedback, general feedback, chat sessions, vendor feedback forms etc.

But don’t Over-engineer

Data can be wisely used to create a convenient shopping experience and even know their emotional triggers but don’t over-engineer your website’s shopping experience. Once you have all the emotional intelligence about your customers, you need people who have the ability to use that intelligence with their natural creativity to create a romance around your website’s online shopping experience.

You might have to take the role similar to a film director, wherein he controls a film’s artistic and dramatic aspects, and visualizes the script while guiding the technical crew and actors to make us laugh, cry or scream in terror.

Here are some of the human emotions that you can use while designing the emotional aspect of your website’s shopping experience:

  1. Intrigue and mystery Use these emotions in your marketing material
    If you can create marketing material (facebook ads, emails, etc) which elicits a feeling of intrigue and mystery in your potential customers, not only these emotions improve your ‘Click through rate’ but also make people who land on your online store curious to explore and be receptive to the messages and stories you have to tell them on your website.
  2. Desire and aspiration — Use these emotions in your website content
    Once a user lands on your website, your content (UI, banners, product images, lookbook images) should create a feeling of desire and aspiration in your customers to be part of something larger than the brand and products which can be a certain lifestyle, idea, community, taste, motivation etc.
  3. Urgency and fear — Use these emotions in your call to actions
    The call to action text, links and images on your website should trigger the emotions of urgency (and even fear) in your customers to provoke a fear of missing out an opportunity. Evoking these emotions can help you keep your cart abandonment rate in check.
  4. Trust & Comfort— Use these emotions on about, contact pages
    Like we said, your customers want to know what’s behind the promise. Who’re the people running the show? What is their story? Can they be trusted? How do they look? Where are they coming from? Your content on the about and contact pages should answer all these questions so that you can generate a feeling of trust and be transparent with your customers.
  5. Surprise and laughter — Use these emotions on social
    Everyone wants to be happy and make others feel the same. If you can create marketing material that surprises people and make them laugh, you can ensure that people will not only have a positive outlook about your brand but also share, like and engage with your brand on social media.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of human emotions. There are endless ways how you can use human emotions to not only improve your website’s conversion rate but to also ensure the long-term success of your online brand.

We’re living in a time when easy search and smooth checkout processes are not enough to make your customers buy. You have to create emotional paths for your customers on your website to not only make them complete the transaction but to also connect with them at a very emotional level. And that’s what will make them feel like buying from you. What do you think?


Related Posts